Friday morning federal headlines – Nov. 30, 2012

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Senate said the government cannot hold Americans suspected of terrorism indefinitely. Liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans came together to approve the amendment to the defense bill. It would apply only to citizens or legal residents seized on U.S. soil. In passing the measure, lawmakers revived a controversy that has plagued the government since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the House rejected a similar effort in May. The White House has threatened to veto the Senate bill. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Senate told the Department of Homeland Security it better get its books in order. The chamber passed a measure to require DHS to get a clean audit by next year. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) has sponsored a bill saying the audit would set a roadmap for a more frugal department that’s less likely to fall victim to waste and fraud. DHS said it is audit ready and has tried to pass a full audit. But Carper said it has yet to do so. The bill also requires DHS to come up with a plan to modernize its financial systems. A companion bill in the House remains stuck at the committee level. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Senate has passed a measure directing the Veterans Affairs Department to get help in tackling its backlog of disability claims. It would require VA to reach out to state and local agencies and provide funding where possible. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) says his state has launched strike-force teams to help veterans fill out applications the right way. VA has a backlog of more than 600,000 claims. Incomplete paperwork is just one reason why VA is so slow. The measure is an amendment to the 2013 defense bill. (Federal News Radio)
  • After a long and sometimes messy courtship, the Transportation Security Administration and its labor union are finally tying the knot. TSA and the American Federation of Government Employees sign off today on their first collective bargaining agreement. The union said the contract will improve working conditions for 45,000 security officers. It covers performance evaluations, annual leave and working hours and uniform allowances. Members approved the contract by a nearly ten-to-one margin earlier this month. It goes into effect Dec. 9. (AFGE)
  • The National Archives is moving to cloud email. It has contracted with Unisys in a $7.2 million five-year deal. The tech company will oversee 4,500 of the Archives employees in their move to Google Apps for email and other tools. Unisys has overseen similar transitions for employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, GSA and the Energy Department’s Idaho National Lab. (Federal News Radio)